CURTIS, Arthur George
(Service number 49607)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||1 May 1895||Place of Birth||Albury, South Canterbury, New Zealand|
|Date||27 February 1917||Age||21|
|Address at Enlistment||Albury, South Canterbury, New Zealand|
|Occupation||Farm hand, Labourer (for I Curtis)|
|Previous Military Experience||2nd (South Canterbury) Regiment|
|Next of Kin||Jane Curtis (mother) Albury, South Canterbury, New Zealand|
|Medical Information||5 foot 5 1/4 inches tall, weight 138 lbs, chest 34-36 inches, fair hair, brown eyes, medium complexion|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||27th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Canterbury Infantry Regiment, C Company|
|Date||13 June 1917|
|Transport||HMNZT 87 Tahiti|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Devonport, England|
|Other Units Served With||2nd Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment|
|Last Unit Served With||2nd Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment|
|Campaigns||Western Europe (France)|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||21 July 1919||Reason||Termination of his period of engagement|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
1919 - Farmer Labourer, Albury, South Canterbury, New Zealand; and from 1943(?) Farmer, Kulara, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia
|Date||16 June 1983||Age||88 years|
|Place of Death||Yungaburra, Atherton, Queensland, Australia|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Atherton Cemetery, Queensland, Australia|
|New Zealand Memorials||Listed as a returned soldier on the Te Ngawai Memorial (on the old school site), erected in 1947.|
Arthur was born in Albury, South Canterbury, on 1 May 1895 to Jane Elizabeth Curtis. Arthur was raised by his grandparents Isaac and Jane Curtis, who farmed at Te Ngawai, Albury. After being schooled at Te Ngawai Arthur working in the region as a farm labourer.
When he enlisted on 27 February 1917, Arthur was working as a farm labourer for his grandfather. He was described as being aged 21, Presbyterian, single, 5 foot 5 ¼ inches tall, weighing 138 lbs, having fair hair and brown eyes, of medium complexion and his chest measuring 34-36 inches. He nominated his mother Jane, who was living at home in Albury, as his next of kin. Jane (1878-1965) later married Leonard James Pratley (1876-1946), and both are buried in the Ashburton Cemetery.
Posted as a Private to the Canterbury Infantry Regiment and having had some previous military experience with the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment, he was promoted to Lance Corporal on 12 May. He left with the 27th Reinforcements from Wellington on 12 June 1917 aboard SS Tahiti (HMNZT 87) bound for Devonport, England, and landed there on 16 August. Immediately on arrival he relinquished his rank of Lance Corporal and returned to being a Private. After further training at Sling Camp, he left for France on 6 October and on 25 October 1917, was posted as a re-enforcement to the 2nd Battalion Canterbury Regiment. This Battalion served with distinction in France and was involved in all the major battles and the march into Germany. Private Curtis was detached back to the UK on 21 February 1919, and boarded the SS Maunganui at Liverpool on 17 May for his return to NZ. By this time he had served a total of 2 years and 12 days overseas, and at the end of the war, was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service.
Arthur returned to work on the family farm at Albury but on 24 February 1920 a social evening was held for Isaac, Arthur, and Anne Curtis (grandchildren of Isaac) as Isaac had sold his farm and was travelling back to England for a year to see family and friends.
Research by descendants reveal that later Arthur bought a farm at Broadfields, south oif Christchurch, in February 1926 which he sold in April 1927. At some point he left for Australia, resulting in his family losing contact with him. In 1927 he appears in a Queensland newspaper article looking for work at the South Johnstone sugar mill (south of Cairns) where he was involved in a fight with striking workers. They pushed him off a bridge and he fell 9 foot to the snad below. While he managed to crawl back up with his suitcase he was then beaten even though a policeman was present. From 1943 he appears at Kulara in the Leichardt area of the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland. Land here was marginal and cheap and Arthur had difficulty with roaving dingoes killing his stock. In 1977 he was recorded as living at Russell Pocket Road, Yungaburra, Atherton. Electoral rolls showed him living in the area until 1980, after which the farm was sold and Arthur moved into a nursing home. In the process of the research contact was made with a family who had befriended Arthur, They told how he joined them for Sunday roast, describing him as a lovely man who kept very much to himself.
Arthur died on 16 June 1983, and is buried in the Atherton Cemetery. Arthur never married.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [21 June 2016]; SCRoll submissions from M Mowatt and P Bishop, 15 June & 29 September 2016; University of New South Wales, Canberra NZEF Project "New Zeland Anzacs in ther Great War 1914-1918" at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=60085; Official History of the Canterbury Regiment at http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH1-Cant.html; Birth, Deaths, and Marriages at https://bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz; Burial at Atherton Queensland Australia found on Family Search at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/results?count=20&query=%2Bgivenname%3A%22arthur%20george%22~%20%2Bsurname%3Acurtis~%20%2Bdeath_year%3A1950-2000~&collection_id=1927198; "Camp appointments" in the Dominion 16 May 1917 p6, "Returning Soldiers" in the Timaru Herald 16 June 1919 p5, and "Farewell to an Old Settler" in the Timaru Herald 24 February 1920 p9, courtesy of Papers Past at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz [accessed August 2016]; Genealogical research material by M Mowat, supplied to SCRoll, 6 September 2016;
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Ted Hanson, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
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